AkzoNobel announced that one of its researchers presented a paper at a recent major technical conference describing a new three-component anionic collector for phosphate ore flotation that meets all the requirements for flotation efficacy and sustainability. IMPC 2014, the International Mineral Processing Congress, took place October 20–24 in Santiago, Chile.

“We are committed to developing sustainable solutions to meet the needs of the mining industry,” said Odair Lima, research chemist at AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry, who presented the paper, titled Development of anionic collectors for direct flotation of apatite from complex siliceous ores with a focus on sustainability.

“When developing new surfactants for the mining industry, sustainability encompasses not only the environmental profile of the surfactants, but the use of renewable, easily available raw materials, minimal energy consumption and waste, and highly efficient performance.”

AkzoNobel’s portfolio of flotation collectors provide solutions for phosphate, calcite, iron, potash, niobium, silicates, graphite and other minerals. “We select the best collector based on three principals,” said Luiz Ribeiro, account manager for mining applications in South America. “First, we consider every ore to be unique; second, every ore is treated in a unique process; and three, customized collectors optimize process performance.”

For complex phosphate ores, for example, where carbonate minerals are present, it has been difficult to produce high-quality phosphate concentrates. “Traditional fatty acid collectors not only float the calcium mineral apatite but also the other calcium minerals, calcite and dolomite,” explained Ribeiro. “Our collectors float selectively the apatite.”

In another sector of the mining chemicals market, ExxonMobil Chemical said it intends to increase production of its high-performance hydrocarbon fluids by about 10% through expansion projects at its Singapore and Antwerp facilities. The additional capacity, designed to meet rapidly expanding global demand for hydrocarbon fluids and extend the company’s worldwide supply capability, will begin producing by mid-2015 and be complete in 2016.

The company said its portfolio of fluids includes ultra-low aromatic grades that deliver the highest performance standards while complying with stringent environmental and regulatory requirements.

“ExxonMobil’s specialty products, such as our Escaid fluids, improve performance and safety in extended-reach drilling and solvent extraction processes for mining applications,” said Declan Dixon, ExxonMobil fluids marketing manager. “Our Exxsol fluids, with extremely low aromatic content and low odor, are effectively and efficiently replacing traditional industrial and consumer solvents.”

The expansion projects, which upgrade refining streams into specialty chemical products, are in progress and build on other recently announced large investment projects in the company’s Singapore and Antwerp facilities.

Singapore is ExxonMobil’s largest integrated refining and chemical manufacturing site. The company has expanded production in Singapore to meet expected demand across the Asia Pacific region.

Hydrocarbon fluids, including specialty brands and unique products tailored for specific applications, are available in a variety of distillation ranges and evaporation rates. They are used as as solvents, dispersants and carriers for many applications. The ExxonMobil Chemical portfolio of high-value hydrocarbon fluids include the Exxsol D, Escaid, Isopar, Somentor and Solvesso brands.

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